How to Remove Armpit Stains | Get Rid of Underarm Stains & Odors from Clothes

How to Remove Armpit Stains | Get Rid of Underarm Stains & Odors from Clothes

Do you consistently have a problem with armpit stains in your clothing when you do your laundry? Those annoying, slightly yellow stains around the armpit seams of your t-shirts--you know what I mean. But you’re not the only one!

Armpit stains can be one of those issues that just pile onto your already busy chore list. Sometimes it can’t be helped that you sweat all the time right? Nobody wants to wear a shirt in the morning and discover there’s a yellow stain in your armpit once you leave the house, let alone someone pointing it out to you in the public.

You need to wear and apply some deodorant and antiperspirant. Unfortunately, there’s still a big chance it will result in some sort of yellow stain in your armpit area of your clothing. How annoying is that? 

Thankfully there are plenty of solutions to help you revive the color of your shirts and a couple of methods to help prevent this from happening in the future. There’s no need to go crazy about trying to remove these troublesome stains as well.

We compiled a list of DIY methods you can try at your home before you resort to buying specific solutions for stain removal and they just consist of things that are commonly found in every kitchen. Here's are a few helpful guides on how to get stains out of a white shirt and how to wash dress shirts. Before we tackle the strategies for this, let's take a look at the who, what, and why there are stains from your armpits.

Potential causes of armpit stains

Stains from your armpits may seem like a natural occurrence, but there are some factors that come into play. Depending on the type of deodorant and antiperspirant you may be using, there’s a higher chance that there will be residue that comes from your armpits. For instance, if the products you use contain aluminum, then the aluminum component does cause a build-up and creates a yellow stain on your shirts. It may not happen immediately, but once it settles, there will be staining!

Obviously, if you don’t shower often, there’s definitely going to be stains in your armpits. Also if you sweat often from doing strenuous physical activities or just in general, there will be stains not just in your armpit area! Sweat is one of your main culprits for your stains. If you didn't sweat, then you wouldn’t need to use any deodorant or antiperspirant and that would eliminate any sort of staining from your armpits!

Another possible source would be the types of liquids and foods you intake. You have heard about the smell you secrete or your body odor comes from the types of food you intake right? Well, the sweat you produce also comes from the types of liquids you drink, such as coffee, soda, etc. So if you drink plenty of dark liquids, that could be a reason why there’s sweat stains in your armpits, as well as oily or fried food, etc. Not just your everyday sweat, but your body will secrete whatever you intake in general. Once something comes in, it has to come out right? Perspiration is one of those natural methods that regrettably at times results in stains.

These may not be the only causes for your armpits to create that yellow residue, but definitely are your primary suspects. Next, let’s go through some DIY procedures that you can attempt at your home to remove the yellow stains!

white shirt washing machine

What you’ll need to remove armpit stains

  • Soft Bristle Brush (even a toothbrush can work)
  • Washing Machine
  • Non-Metal Mixing Bowl
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Heavy-duty Laundry Detergent
  • Lemon Method
    • Equal parts lemon and water
  • Salt Method
    • Boiling water
    • Salt
    • Sponge or cloth
  • Baking Soda Method
    • ¼ cup baking soda
    • ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide
    • Water
  • White Vinegar Method
    • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
    • Water
  • Dish Soap Method
    • 1 part Dish soap
    • 2 parts hydrogen peroxide
  • Oxygen Bleach Method (NOT CHLORINE BLEACH!)
    • 2 Tablespoons oxygen-based bleach
    • 2 Tablespoons household ammonia

    diy to remove armpit stains

    Step-by-step instructions

    We do recommend to try these in the following order, saving the oxygen bleach for last as that is a stronger solution. 

    Lemon Method

    1. Pour equal parts Lemon juice and water into a bowl
    2. Mix properly and you can add a pinch of salt.
    3. Apply on stained area and rub until it vanishes or let it sit for an hour.
    • Optional: You can submerge the stained area in a solution of equal parts lemon and water for an hour or so if rubbing it doesn’t help.

      Salt Method

      1. Boil a quart of water and dissolve four tablespoons of salt
      2. Use a sponge or cloth to dab the boiled salt water and apply onto the stained armpit area.
      3. Rub until it is dissolved. You may need to rub for a longer period of time for this to take effect.

      Baking Soda Method

      1. Mix ¼ cup baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water together
      2. Rub the mix into the stains and then allow it to sit for about 30 mins
      3. You can use your choice of brush to scrub any residue loose.

      White Vinegar Method

      1. Mix 1 cup of distilled white vinegar and water 
      2. Apply and scrub onto stained area
      3. Optional for colored shirts: Fill a washing machine or large bucket/contain with cold water and add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar
      • Let shirt soak for at least 30 minutes

        Dish Soap Method

        1. Mix 1 part dish soap and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide.
        2. Apply and scrub on stain, then let it sit for an hour

        Oxygen Bleach Method

        1. This is best done in a well ventilated room/space for mixing the ingredients! Also be sure to use rubber gloves as well!
          1. Mix 1 part oxygen-based bleach (Example: Oxi-Clean, OXO Brite, etc.) and 1 part household ammonia in a non-metal bowl/container.
          2. NOTE: Remember NOT to use Chlorine based bleach because not only will it result in your stain becoming worse, but the chemical reaction will cause poisonous fumes that’s dangerous for yourself and your home!
        2. Rub the solution into the stains with your choice of brush.
        3. Allow the solution to it for a minimum of 10 minutes and then

        Alternative Approach

        If the above methods aren’t removing those stains from your armpits on your clothes, then you can use specific stain removal solutions and products, such as Tide Markers, Oxi-Clean, or other company products that are out on the market! They may not be your most natural source for a solution, but removing stains from your clothes aren’t always the easiest problems to solve so you may need further assistance from these commodities.

        After your selected method(s), throw the shirt(s) into the laundry machine to wash with detergent and it should be as clean as new! Don’t forget to check your garment’s instructions on how to wash as that will determine if you use warm or cold water for your laundry! Worried about discoloration? It would be best to try the methods on the stain area even when submerging the stain with solution, and then approach more extreme measures like dousing your entire shirt in the solution to sit for an hour or so and then proceed to scrub and then throw it into the laundry machine.

        washing machine remove armpit stains

        Tips on how to prevent future stains

        It’s best practice to wash your clothes as soon as you’re not wearing them to prevent any sort of sweat residue from being absorbed into your clothing! You don’t have to do this for every piece of clothing you own, but perhaps on the clothes that constantly have stain issues or the clothes you exercise in are the ones you need to focus on. 

        Avoid applying excessive amounts of deodorant and antiperspirants. You don’t need much to get through the day! Be sure to let your products dry on your armpits before putting on a shirt too.

        You can seek out other products for an alternative to aluminum based deodorants and antiperspirants as a good amount of brands offer a great variety, so you don’t have to worry about the salts that build up. There are organic options as well as stain resistant ones.

        Another option you can try is to wear an undershirt. Having an extra layer will protect your priority shirt from getting stains. If that isn’t working out, there are special undershirts that are designed to be stain resistant or sweat absorbent as well. 

        You can also trim your armpits (if you have any hair there!). It will help reduce any sort of wetness to stay there longer, but there’s no need to shave all of it, unless you’re willing to go that far! 

        If you’re worried about any sort of odor from your choice of technique of stain removal, you can add baking soda when you wash your clothes and that will assist in removing any strange scents.


        Tackling the armpit stains is sometimes a work of art: you have to try different materials and methods until one works perfectly, creating that ideal image or in this case, shirt. When you think about it, armpit stains shouldn’t be a problem at all compared to other issues you face, but unfortunately us humans need particular care for a better lifestyle. These DIY methods may not work on every type of shirt, but you can also definitely try to apply these techniques to other stains as well! It will definitely save you on some expenses on buying the stronger solutions or the need to buy a new replacement piece of clothing.

        Avoiding embarrassment in the public with a strained armpit on your clothing is definitely important because not only will it fluster yourself whether it be a personal or professional setting, but it will damage your credentials as someone who’s not aware of your own presentation and it’ can be a sign that perhaps you need to take a look at your personal hygiene. 

        Hopefully this guide has taught you another skill in self and home maintenance to take back with you to your home and family! It’s quite simple for stain removal and not complicated at all. Having armpit stain free shirts will not only give you a fresh look, but you will feel beautifully clean as well. You should definitely think about preventive measures to avoid the need to use stain removal methods as this will also lead you to a healthier and clean lifestyle.

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